Artist: Greg Tocchini
Release: July 30, 2014
The sun is going supernova and the surface of Earth has long since burned into a scorched wasteland. Humanity has fled the surface, seeking refuge from the ravages of the dying star’s radiation in submerged mega-cities on the ocean floor. Before the world burns once and for all, mankind bides its time beneath the sea, clinging to the shred of hope that one of their many probes will find a habitable planet somewhere in the deep expanses of space. This is writer Rick Remender being optimistic, by the way.
The world of Low offers domed cities, robotic exo-suits and massive sea creatures, making this new series as science-fictionally surreal as possible, but as Remender says, it’s ultimately a story about hope. The personification of that hope is Stel Caine, the matriarch of a prominent family, who won’t give up. When Stel’s family becomes endangered, doom looms both large and small. The theme Remender plays with — via Stel’s unflappable optimism — is made all the more powerful when pitted against the end of the world, and not just an abstract end that could happen, but the scientific certainty that our sun will one day incinerate the Earth.
Shifting over to the art, the word surreal demands to be repeated. From the character and tech designs to the dazzling colors, Greg Tocchini’s art bypasses the verbal center of the brain and moves straight to primal, silent awe. He presents such amazing images of the metropolis, the mighty helm suits and mammoth octopuses, that the first issue feels like a tease. I just can’t wait to see how he visualizes the rest of the Low world.
Remender and Tocchini have crafted a rich world, loaded with its own deep history, societal norms and resentments. Watching as this world unfurls and seeing what makes it tick ought to be as exciting as the tribulations of the Caine family. And if we’ve learned anything from Remender’s past work, there will be no shortage of tribulation.